Monday, December 10

Unexpected Guests: Casey Mooney.

This afternoon, it's a very special visit to a gorgeous little Craftsman bungalow in Berkeley, California...home of ubër talented artist, photographer, and my dear friend, Casey Mooney and Fang, the Wonder Dog. Casey works (too hard!) in advertising, but should really spend a great deal more time creating. She has many talents, and you've seen her work before - on my gallery wall behind my sofa. She painted the portrait of a very serious-minded looking Cooper, and sketched the two images me of - one removing lint from my clothing; and the other pouring salt all over my food. Two very bad habits of mine. She drew these as we flew home from a holiday in London together - I suppose it's what she remembers most about me on that trip! We get to see much more of her talents today, and some of her photographs of her many collections - including hand carved wooden Madonnas, political figures, pottery and meaningful family heirlooms and mementos.

What is your favorite outing in Berkeley?
Most of the things in my home are flea market finds. The Alameda Antiques Market (a few miles south of Berkeley) is my first choice when I am looking for something just right for my house. Berkeley has several great "salvage" stores for the times when I need a between flea market fix. Urban Ore, Gilman Salvage, and Ohmega Salvage are my three favorites.

What's the best thing about your city?
Berkeley, much like San Francisco, is a food lover's paradise. When I have house guests, we usually take a short walk to Chez Panisse for at least one meal. If the season is right, we'll walk through Alice Water's "edible schoolyard" at the Martin Luther King Middle School on our way out to dinner. My favorite breakfast joint is the Homemade Cafe on Sacramento. My sister and I meet there for breakfast at least once a weekend for their take on Huevos Rancheros. For wine, Vintage is a lovely wine shop in a converted utilities pumping station on Vine Street. Their descriptions of their wines are incredibly entertaining and their amazing finds are very reasonably priced. For cocktails, there is nothing better than sipping a martini on the deck at the Claremont Hotel with their spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay.

Who is your favorite artist?
Alexander Calder's Circus never ceases to warm my heart. I love Calder and Maira Kalman for their whimsy. I wish I could paint portraits like Alice Neel. I admire the architecture of John Lautner and the films of Wes Anderson and Tim Burton. I went to see Annie Leibovitz show A Photographer's Life at the Corcoran last month and parts of it moved me to tears.

Where do you find inspiration?
It's hard to think of places and people who don't inspire me.

Who do you admire and why?
I truly find joy in everyday things and every day people and I am in constant admiration of the people in my day-to-day life. I want to be as fearless as some and as gracious as others...the list of things that I could do better is long and the list of people that I can learn from is longer.

What's the last great book you read?
I've read a lot of good books recently. Right now I seem to be gravitating towards books that explore issues of race in our society, The Human Stain and A Lesson Before Dying are two of the most recent. My all time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. Whenever I go to the book store, I check the shelves to see if there is anything new by Jeffrey Eugenides. He won my admiration when I read The Virgin Suicides several years ago.

What's your favorite film?
Like Water for Chocolate is my absolute favorite.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
My mother. We just recently lost her and I really miss her face. She hated having her picture taken, so recent pictures of her are few and far between. Her namesake, my niece Missy, was born on the day that mummy died. She is my new muse.

Who would you like to sit down to tea with?
Annie Leibovitz, John Hiatt, Steve Martin and Daniel Handler.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love Kraft Easy Mac. I love it so much that I never buy it and I never keep it in my home.

What is your most treasured belonging?
The things I treasure the most are attached to memories of the people I love: my great grandmummy's souvenir from a cathedral in Montreal, one of Mummy's equestrian tie pins, a painting my brother did of one of our home is full of things that remind me of my people.

Favorite color? Why?
Green has always been my favorite color. I don't know why.

What do you despise?
Passive aggression.

What's your favorite word?

*dingleberry |ˈdi ng əlˌberē| noun ( pl. -ries) vulgar slang, a foolish or inept person.

Thanks for the visit Miss Mooney! For more of Casey's collections and fantastic photography, check out her flickr photostream. Oh, and be sure and keep your small animals and wee children away from Casey, unless of course, you want them turned into beautiful photographs and works of amazing art. Not sure what to say about your favorite word, girl. Who knew?

*All photography courtesy of Casey Mooney.


Aesthetic Outburst... said...

Beautiful home...and amazing collections!

Trixie said...

Great, great stuff, but dingleberry?

Alkemie said...

What a great post with very nice collections! It's also fun to read about local haunts. Very nice photos and interview.

Moira said...

Wonderful -- Love the doggies and the art!

Maggie Sumner said...

I love that you let us peak into other people's lives. And interesting people, too! So much better.

Artistic living is always inspiring.

Katie said...

Great photos.

Hmmmm, that's not what dingleberry means in our house.....

Shannon said...

Agreed. Definitely not my definition of a dingleberry.

Mary Ann said...

I only meant to zip over here for a quick dose of visual love. What was I thinking? 20 minutes later and I'm still poking around post after post....
Love these profiles!

John Boback said...

Casey's my cousin who lives in the Bay area, and this interview allowed me to know her a bit more. She's a special woman.